The Penalty Loophole

dan200

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While we were all waiting to find out what the penalties we were gonna see handed out after the assorted highway shenanigans at the 1000 some of us were discussing what I call the "penalty loophole".

So we're clear, I like the outlaw aspect to racing in Baja. But I have reservations about how we run/race on the highways. A head on collision on a highway section is gonna make big trouble for racing down there. We saw this with the Parkhouse/Luhtala crash and that was one race car hitting another. Now imagine if it was a race car and a Mexican farmer. The spectators that put themselves at risk by being on the outside of a turn or the idiots who try and high five a TT on Zoo Road are putting themselves at risk. But some guy with an overloaded pickup filled with metal he's hauling to the scrap yard shouldn't have to worry Rob Mac might be in his lane. I myself would rather not see racing on the highway. Battle on the dirt, not the asphalt.

So the solution is that drivers who "Fug Around" on the highway get time penalties but there's a loophole, sorta. They can mitigate the impact of the penalty by getting a better track position. Sometimes a 10 min penalty can actually help if while you were getting it you got in front of another guy. It is a calculated risk and track position means quite a bit now a days. But when ya do this highway stuff, you make SCORE and the rest of us look bad. Slowly but surely, racing in Baja is becoming less lawless. The spirit remains but, trackers, VCPs, Stellas, and the various speed zones/highway section rules have certainly shown us that there are some rules on how we need to behave. The message has been sent. DON'T FUGG AROUND ON THE HIGHWAY. But people still do.

To curb this better I floated the idea of a new kind of penalty. The "lose a position penalty". SCORE sets up whatever will be next years version of rules to get everyone to not screw around on the highways and if you break them you lose a position. That's it. You make a dangerous decision on the highway and, well, you can't win. Your decision leaves it so you can't do any better than second place.

I know my idea is a flawed one but IMO all the highway antics we saw (and ones we didn't see) aren't necessary. I'm losing respect for some of you. You're better than this.

Discuss. (Haters welcome.)
 
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randy68

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DQ and total ban for a year or 3?
 

rustyb

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Well said dan200. I strongly believe that each of us has the right to risk our own lives as much as we want as long as we don't put others at unreasonable risk. The lose a place idea is good but a DQ might be more appropriate for really dangerous moves (in my opinion that would include the Rob Mac pass).
 

y2kbaja

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We saw video of another couple of TT's on the highway doing the same as the #11 but no penalties. Why? They DNF'd. So here they are risking everything the #11 did but got off scott free. How do you handle the penalties if the car is a DNF?
 

Zac Reish

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You can apply position to the following race. I thinks it’s a reasonable solution
 

Crusty Shellback

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Since you guys keep mentioning Rob Macs pass. What should happen to the race car/driver he passed? Ryan started speeding up trying to prevent the pass which kept Rob in the left lane probably longer than he had anticipated. Granted they DNF'd but still? Would this have been an issue other than a speeding penalty if Ryan would have ceded the position by not speeding up or trying to bump Rob off the Highway?

Lots of local traffic were passing Ryan and he didn't seem to mind them going by.
 

Brandt_Anderson

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You can apply position to the following race. I thinks it’s a reasonable solution
They don't expect to DNF when they're committing the infraction. I think the rule applying to the current race would be deterrent enough. No one is going to say, "I DNF'd but I'm stoked! I totally got away with that highway pass!"

I think the unaddressed issue here is what happens to the guy, like Ryan Arciero, who loses a position, or possibly gets taken out of the race, due to another racer's illegal pass? The answer is probably "That's racing", but it sure does suck for the guy who was following the rules.
 

michael_loomis

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Lose a place is interesting... but a second might still win you a championship... 15 mins might have pushed you out of the championship as close as these guys run lately.

And to be clear... it was indeed SPECIFICALLY mentioned at the meeting, if you pass going into the dirt, you will get penalized more than just the tripled speeding penalty.. you would also incur at minimum a 15 min penalty. Same if you broke the speed limit to pass on the highway. A complete DQ was also on the board as an option.


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Steve_Sourapas

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Consider if they didn't have video proof on some of those TT's passing on the pavement. I bet no penalty would have been given at all. I agree that passing or attempting to improve your position by speeding on the highway sections should be a minimum HOUR penalty as that should stop it.
 

Honda48X

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Since you guys keep mentioning Rob Macs pass. What should happen to the race car/driver he passed? Ryan started speeding up trying to prevent the pass which kept Rob in the left lane probably longer than he had anticipated. Granted they DNF'd but still? Would this have been an issue other than a speeding penalty if Ryan would have ceded the position by not speeding up or trying to bump Rob off the Highway?

Lots of local traffic were passing Ryan and he didn't seem to mind them going by.
If you have a rule that if you pass you are disqualified then Ryan wouldn’t need to do what he did. If Rob did what he is supposed to Ryan wouldn’t have to worry.
 

DanMcMillin

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Maybe the Stellas aren’t all equal/calibrated correctly....? In this case there was video, but not all incidents will have video proof and GoPros sometimes don’t last. Stella and SCORE need to be held more accountable and need to make sure it’s not a flaw in their system. And just because one of the parties DNF’s, doesn’t mean the other should get off scotch free, as if that needed to be said. My brother had a similar incident happen to him and it was neither of their faults, it was a Stella issue.

Per the drivers meeting, You were allowed to pass as long as you didn’t go over the speed limit. I don’t think Rob would jeopardize his race to speed and gain position before a wide open desert for the next 200 miles.

I’ve always said that Speed zones are the most stressful part of racing in Baja now, on top of leaving Ensenada and coming back in. This race just magnified it even more! LOL
 
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harleys dad

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seams ridicules to have to go 37 mph and all kinds of traffic passing the race cars. Which is more safeor unsafe? Cannot believe you are made to go that slow
 

DanMcMillin

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seams ridicules to have to go 37 mph and all kinds of traffic passing the race cars. Which is more safeor unsafe? Cannot believe you are made to go that slow
It’s the legal speed limit, Dave. 37 mph is 60 kmh. I do not think it was SCORE’s call to enforce such slow speeds but it’s how they make it all happen and be compliant/respectful with local law enforcement. SCORE cant control spectators and chase crews unless they go Dakar style.

The speed limits aren’t fun but the roads of Baja weren’t made for the cars and trucks of today so it is what it is for now. They’re slowly making it better, hence all the construction.
 
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harleys dad

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Dan I honestly didnt realize that, but now that you said it of course, Just seams wrong to have hwy traffic blowing by like your(not you) sitting still. That seams almost more unsafe. Thanks Dan
 

harleys dad

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LOL its hard to tow a trailer at 55, going 37 must be murder
 

Dirtman

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37 MPH is absolutely not unsafe on the highway, one of the best decisions by SCORE for safety. Makes it very easy for local traffic to pass and the need for a racer to pass local traffic is unlikely. When the speed is 50 or 55 MPH, every racer will try to maintain that speed even if it means unsafe passing of local traffic, getting around the local Toyota with smoke billowing and a family of 8 headed out to watch the race, swerving into opposite lane to get around a vehicle slowing to turn off highway, etc. all while continuing to fiddle around with cleaning visor, getting a drink, or whole slew of other reasons for distracted driving. Not to mention the idiot pit crew pulling a trailer that will try to pass the racer that is doing 50 MPH because they are late to their pit and want to go 60 MPH.

37 MPH doesn't hurt anyone's race and tremendously improves safety. After witnessing the head on highway incident it was very clear the higher speed limit allowed for the racers at that time played a role. Even with a fully caged vehicle we had a fatality, imagine a local family in a small car tangling with a big race truck. Hopefully we will seldom see opposing race traffic on the highway but there will always be local traffic and at least with the lower rate of speed everyone has a bit more time to make decisions. And if a bad thing does happen, damage/injury will be much lower at lower rates of speed.

Rob Mac has been my hero for a long time. And watching the video it was clear there was no oncoming traffic and I don't think he truly endangered anyone that I could see. BUT, racing of any kind on the highway needs to be discouraged/squashed/killed so I support the penalty Rob received and I think dan200 is on the right track. Make sure the penalty is an absolute deterrent, not a potential risk someone might consider worth taking for improved track position.
 

dan200

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Per the drivers meeting, You were allowed to pass as long as you didn’t go over the speed limit. I don’t think Rob would jeopardize his race to speed and gain position before a wide open desert for the next 200 miles.
Wasn't rob in a pit and Arciero went past him? It looked like Arcieros Stella was locked at 37mph and then Rob appears next to him. He had to speed a little to just catch up. Right?
 

michael_loomis

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Wasn't rob in a pit and Arciero went past him? It looked like Arcieros Stella was locked at 37mph and then Rob appears next to him. He had to speed a little to just catch up. Right?
I don’t “think” that is what Rob protested. It was my understanding that the Stella turns the speed limit off at the edge of the pavement even though score said they would continue into the dirt.

If Rob was sent out as Ryan passes, it wouldn’t take long for a TT to hit 37.


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Chainguide

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One thing I hate to see is more rules and penalties. Baja racing has changed so much in the last 10 or so years that it seems like OSHA has taken over SCORE. I totally understand how we are getting to this point and most of this discussion centers around racing on the highways. What if we took another approach? What if we really worked hard to eliminated as much racing on the highway as possible? Maybe work with the Mexican government to create dedicated dirt routes that parallel the highways where it is practical. Ideas anyone?
 
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What about giving every entrant an inordinate amount of time to finish each highway section?

For example, 20 minutes for a five-mile-stretch, no matter if you do it in three minutes or nineteen and three quarters?

There's got to be issues, seems too simple, but I'm not seeing 'em right now.

ADRA did it thirty-plus years ago, but with only one "off the clock" section.
 
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